Signs of Hearing Loss and Common Causes

Common Causes and Symptoms of Hearing Loss

Many people believe that they will “know” if they are not hearing well. However, hearing loss is usually gradual, so patients lose the ability to understand speech little by little each day. Usually, people first notice they are having a hard time hearing in noisy situations, and they attribute the problem to the environment. Usually, family members and friends notice that someone does not hear well before the person admits they are having trouble.

Signs of Hearing Loss

Often, patients can’t hear someone talking from the other room, and may feel like people are mumbling or talking under their breath. The volume on the television may get higher and higher. It just isn’t as fun to go out to eat because the restaurants are so noisy that hearing others at the table is difficult. By far, the most common sign of hearing loss is asking others to repeat what is said.

Another sign of hearing loss is tinnitus, or ringing in the ears. Tinnitus can be a hissing, a ringing, a chirping, or any other noise that only the sufferer can hear. Tinnitus can be caused by hearing loss, but also by medications, loud noises, poor circulation, tumors, or many other reasons.

What Causes Hearing Loss?

Heredity

Heredity plays a role in hearing loss. If your parents, aunts, uncles, or siblings have hearing loss, you might too. Hearing loss usually “runs” in families. It is important to monitor your hearing if others in your family have a hearing loss.

Diabetes and Other Illnesses

Diseases such as diabetes can cause hearing loss. Studies show that diabetics are twice as likely to have hearing loss as others the same age without diabetes. Diabetics often have poor blood circulation due to high blood glucose levels, which can damage the tiny hair cells in the inner ear. This causes sensorineural or permanent hearing loss. Diabetics should have an annual hearing test to monitor their hearing.

Chemotherapy and Radiation

Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation can cause hearing loss. Prior to beginning any chemotherapy or radiation treatments, a patient should have a baseline hearing test. If during the treatments, a loss is noticed, additional hearing tests should be done to monitor any changes. During treatments it may be difficult to notice if a person is losing their hearing since their energy and concentration can be impaired due to the cancer treatments.

More Common Causes of Hearing Loss

  • Hearing loss can be caused simply by aging and getting older.
  • Children can have ear infections, which cause a temporary but significant hearing loss.
  • About 7% of all teenagers have some hearing loss from the use of iPods, MP3 players, and attending concerts.
  • Hearing loss can be caused from noise exposure on the job.
  • Medications can cause tinnitus and hearing loss. The types of medications that can damage your hearing are known as ototoxic drugs.
  • Hearing loss can be acquired after an accident.

If you notice you’re having a hard time understanding a conversation, call us or fill out our online contact form to schedule a hearing test with one of our board-certified audiologists today!